An important school factor affecting student achievement is the quality of teachers, however, there are misconceptions about what it means to be a quality teacher and how schools can attract and train more of them. This brief summarizes evidence about the characteristics of effective teachers, describes the characteristics of teachers and teacher policies in Florida, and recommends policy changes to help the state meet the significant challenges of meeting the demand for quality teachers in the coming decade. Research suggests that teacher effectiveness depends both on the abilities of teachers and on the training they receive. Teachers are more effective when their preparation includes higher levels of formal education and in-service professional development, particularly when this training is focused on the specific fields in which they teach. Effective teachers also tend to have higher scores on tests of verbal and quantitative skills.